A Visit to Rasa Vineyards

We drove to the modern winery, a few miles outside of downtown Walla Walla and were met by winemaker Billo Navarane, who, along with his brother Pinto, own the winery. Their background in mathematics is behind the names of some of their wines. The wines we tasted along with my very brief notes:

2010 Vox Populi $45: 100% Mourvedre, rhubarb and spice, ripe dark fruit flavors, excellent, 93

2009 Living in the Limelight $55: 90 % Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, nose of earth and dark fruit, dark fruit plummy flavors, balanced, needs a couple of years, 92+

Occam's Razor Syrah Block 10 Seven Hills Vineyard $60: spicy dark berries on nose and palate, excellent, balanced, give it a couple of years, 93+

2009 Doctrina Perpetua Syrah Bacchus Vineyard $60: plummy nose, tart blackberry flavors, 92

2008 QED GSM blend $50: spicy nose with a hint of barnyard, tart black fruit on the palate, 92

2008 Principa Reserve Syrah $85: baking fruit pie nose, smooth, 93+

2009 Plus One Cabernet Sauvignon $65: pencil shavings and forest floor nose, blackberries on the palate, needs time, 92-94

2009 In Order to Form a More Perfect Union $85: 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, barrel sample nose, balanced, can be drunk now but sure to improve, impressive, 92-95

2011 Composer Riesling $30: 1.1% residual sugar, light nose of honey, tart light fruit flavors, 91

2010 Lyricist Riesling $30: 44% botrytised grapes, 4.9% residual sugar, light nose of botrytis and honey, beautiful balance between sweetness and acidity, 95+

Everything we tasted was well-made with the structure to improve and hold for many years. The winery has been in existence only since 2007 and is the most impressive young winery I've ever visited. I love what they're doing with Rhone varietals. This is a must visit for anyone fortunate to find themself in the area.
Original Post
Need to find out if they have distribution to other parts of the US. If you have a contact email Board-O please email it to me. Impressive based on your write up. It looks like they also have a wine called Creative Impulse which is cab and merlot. WS and WA both loved the '08 at 95 and 94pts respectively.

IW
We went to Rasa today and had an awesome tasting served up by Billo. There was a young-ish couple from Seattle there when we arrived. Great conversation all the way around. I will post my notes in the next week or so. Billo is extremely friendly and engaging - just an awesome guy. I don't think I've ever had as enjoyable a tasting experience.

Phenomenal wines. Everything was exceptional, and the sweeter of the two Rieslings was mind-blowing to me. I ended up buying a mixed case at Rasa for shipment.

My credit card is gonna be pissed at me after this Pacific NW trip, but I'll deal with it. Devilish Heading back towards Portland tomorrow and will do some more Willamette Valley PN's over the weekend. I really owe my gf a nice non-wine vacation next year! Even though she isn't nearly as enthusiastic about wine, she loved the Rasa juice as well. If any of you plan a trip to Walla Walla, you MUST make an appointment there.
quote:
Originally posted by Board-O:
My pleasure. The fact that only one other post on this board references this fine winery is surprisng to me.

Hey, production is limited and the wines are already pricey enough as it is. Besides, I thought all you guys drank was European wine anyway...
SQN, Rasa, Barroche, Pegau
Post Number:#1 by J. Scott Kipping »
I thought I posted this tasting on Wine Spectators forum, but I was mistaken.
I believe these are the best wines that I have tasted in Washington. Both Cab based and Rhone based. I have not tasted any Cayuse, but pretty well everything else. They are far bigger, brawnier and structured than Reynvaan.


Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:02 pm
After a few warm up celebrations for my 50th. The Northern Fanatics [3 of us] convened to taste a line up of Syrah's and Grenache based wines.
All wines were opened at 10:00am, tasted by me, and decanted at 4:00pm. Started wine tasting at 7:00pm.
My wife was in charge of pouring into the test decanter and bringing it downstairs for us. I wrote out the lineup for the other two winos. We always usually taste double blind.

Wine #1 Big nose of red fruit. Same on palate. Great finish. SINE QUA NON B20. One of the fanatics concede later he wanted to hate this wine, he wanted to find it OTT with a hot alcoholic finish. He found neither. Everybodies first SQN. 100% Syrah

Wine #2 I will be repeating this a lot. Big nose of red fruit. Moderately tannic grip, black fruits, smoke. Another great lip smacking finish. 2006 FIANCE. Years of life ahead of it. Very similar to one tasted in 2008. 50/50 Syrah Grenache

Wine #3 Smoke, coffee, black fruit nose. Smoke, coffee, black olives, black fruit. Sorry about the broken record, but, a great finish, with slight tannins. Young with years of life. 2007 Rasa QED.
94% Syrah 3% Grenache and 3% Mouvedre

Wine #4 Huge sweet nose of raspberry.Slight tannins, blast of red fruit. Longest finish of them all.Not at all what I remember tasting it with the Fiance in 2008. Back then it was real sweet and gooey. It has grown up since and also has years ahead of it. 2006 PURE. 100% Grenache

Wine #5 Wow what a nose. Smoke, coffee, tar, liquorice. All of these carried over to the palate with an olive component added. The most complex wine by far. Again a terrific finish. Wow wine for everybody. Less tannic than the QED. 2008 RASA PRINIPIA. 100% Syrah

Wine #6 It is too bad that my wife left this for last. I loved it, but the other two didn't. Big ass brett nose. Intense palate of dried fruit and leather. Rioja like. Good solid finish. Still has tannins and more acidity than all of the other wines combined. 2001 CUVEE LAURENCE. Cndp blend I don't know the cepage.

CONCLUSION
The Principia was the clear cut best wine for us, tied for second was the Pure and the B20, after that it is splitting hairs as the Fiance and the Qed are both awesome wines. I loved the Laurence but it stood out as lean in fruit in this lineup.

Buy more Rasa, and try to source Pure and Fiance at reasonable prices. I bought these by the 6 pack for 65.00 each. Know I see Pure at 230.00 retail, thanks Uncle Bob.

We have visited Rasa a couple of times and Pinto and Billo are great hosts who know what they are doing in such a short time as winemakers. I am hoping to visit Julien Barrot in May.
We had a bottle of the 2010 Vox Populi last night. It's 100% Mourvedre. This is a wonderful wine with the attributes foir which I prize and excellent Chateauneuf-du-Pape. No notes taken but a solid well-made spicy gem that's sure to improve. 93-94

Rasa is one of America's great wineries.
My visit, on 11/10/12:

2010 PB Wines Cabernet Franc ($29)
What a nose. A mélange of dark fruit, plum, Crhsitmas spice and minerals. Zero trace of alcohol. Long, detailed finish. 92 points

2009 Rasa Vineards QED ($50)
(71% Syrah, 14 Grenache, 12% Mourvedre, 1% Viognier) I was amazed when Billo told us how many blind trials go into deciding on the final blend for QED. Darker profile than so many GSMs, but not so much that it isn’t clearly a GSM. Floral, spicy, so dense, but still light. 91 points

2009 Rasa Vineyards Principia Reserve Syrah ($85)
(100% Syrah) Very dark. Brooding, highly complex nose. Rocks, spices, black raspberry, light soy, meat, and an undeniable streak of mineral under everything. Huge in the mouth with great lift. Inner-mouth energy. 94 points

2009 Rasa Vineyards ‘Plus One’ Cabernet Sauvignon Kiona Vineyards Red Mountain ($75)
(their first single-vineyard Cab) An exceptional effort from this vineyard. Very clearly a Cab, with currant, anise, blackberry. Very fine yet stiff tannins. So deep and broad. 94 points

2009 Rasa Vineyards ‘Creative Impulse’ DuBrul Vineyards ($95)
(71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot) One of the most memorable wines I’ve had in quite awhile. Power, but still so elegant. Wow, what a mouthful! Textbook DuBrul nose of olive/tobacco currant jam. Effortlessly long and pure. Wow. 97 points

2009 Rasa Vineyards ‘In Order to Form a More Perfect Union’ ($95)
(41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc) Slightly more subdued nose than the prior wine. Black cherry, slight cedar, blackberry, sappy, juicy. Bright and complex. 93 points

2011 Rasa Vineyards ‘Composer’ Riesling ($30)
Easily the finest WA Riesling I’ve had. His equivalent of a Kabinett. Close your eyes, and you’re sipping something from the Mosel. Very light color. Minerally, with apricot, white peach, jasmine. Such a great, complex nose. Pear spice on the very bright, dry palate. 93 points

2011 Rasa Vineyards ‘Lyricist’ Riesling ($30)
An Auslese equivalent. Orange and peach, sweet, and not at all cloying. 88 points
I remember thinking about the Vox Populi, but I wasn't going to push my luck. They opened a lot of yet-to-be-released stuff, so I was pleased as punch. I had plenty of time to write out my notes. The other couple there was asking lots of questions, as were we, and Billo was a gracious host, willing to answer all our questions. I'll remember that tasting for quite some time.
quote:
Originally posted by Board-O:
We had a bottle of the 2010 Vox Populi last night. It's 100% Mourvedre. This is a wonderful wine with the attributes foir which I prize and excellent Chateauneuf-du-Pape. No notes taken but a solid well-made spicy gem that's sure to improve. 93-94

Rasa is one of America's great wineries.


This is killing me ... I *love* Mourvedre, and, despite not being able to access anything I order for a couple years, might take a flyer on a 3-pack of this wine based on your notes. Smile

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